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One area where Owncloud is better than Nextcloud

There is one area that is not talked about much in regards to how Nextcloud and Ownclowd have diverged after they forked. That area is their desktop sync client, especially when running on windows.


The Owncloud client has delta sync capability, while the Nextcloud client does not. Delta sync means that it can upload only the parts of the file that have changed, rather than transferring the entire file. On the other hand, the Nextcloud client cannot even download multiple files in parallel, see issue #976.

The Owncloud desktop app manages to fit in smaller than a reasonable 20mb for the Windows and Mac editions, and a tiny 1.5mb for the Debian package. On the other hand, the Nextcloud Windows installer weighs in at a chonky 100mb+, and the Mac edition is about 80mb. The Nextcloud desktop Linux image is also about 100mb, but it not directly comparable since it is an appimage, which is much more compatible across Linux distros, but means that it has to bundle more things inside the image.


Now, onto the Windows versions specifically.

The Owncloud client comes by default as an MSI installer file, which is IMO, about the same as an EXE installer for the average user, but miles better for a sysadmin or someone using something like Chocolatey. They are even nice enough to provide options for whether to add a desktop shortcut, to not add the shell extension, to disable auto update, to launch after installation, the installation directory, and whether to reboot if needed.

On the other hand, the Nextcloud client comes as an NSIS EXE installer. It can be silently installed, and you can change the installation directory, but nothing else can be specified with install arguments, unlike the plethora available with Owncloud. There is an open issue #59 about this. To disable auto update, you either have to add a registry value (eew), or create/modify the configuration file for each and every user on the computer (double eew).

To be fair, neither of them allow specifying the server URL as an installation parameter, which would be really nice. Also, the Nextcloud client has some extra features added, such as being able to launch the browser directly into the talk app, and other Nextcloud apps.

Nextcloud does have a client MSI installer, but it only provides it to people paying for their client branding plus service. Their branding service is an optional addon if you are already paying for one of their higher tiers of support, and it “starts at €6000 yearly”, which seems to indicate that the branding plus package which includes MSI builds is even more expensive. On the upside, it looks like they are working on making the MSI build scripts and resources available publicly.

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Wasn’t the reason for the fork originally because of the paid model owncloud wanted?

I often wonder if owncloud is less headache these days. Seems as though it might just be.

I don’t think the actual reason was ever given, aside from the statements made by the person that forked OwnCloud at the time. However around the time of the fork OwnCloud had become quite stagnant. Development had been slow, and many open issues just kept dragging on.

I think there was also some issues with certain plugins (office plugins?) that might have been related to the paid model you allude to, in that they were pulled without prior notice. It was never cited as the reason for the fork, but it certainly widened the rift between the community and the company.

Based on what I remember from the time of the fork I think TechRepublic’s take on the reasons for the fork is probably not too far off the mark.

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Well, it seems like they are being nice and they have publicly released MSI binaries for version 3.03.

And it has plenty of public properties, so it is definitely configurable.

The Owncloud client still has delta sync and is smaller, but the gap is a lot smaller now.

The last few (2?) Nextcloud client updates were horrendous. Removing the history of uploads/downloads from the client window in favour of that terrible tray pop-out was a massive mistake.

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